Missouri looking for another statement as it welcomes Arkansas
Never mind that the Missouri Tigers tossed a dominating shutout at SEC rival Vanderbilt last time out.
Their victory might be best remembered by the college world as the answer to a trivia question because it featured the first on-field performance by a woman in a Power Five football game.
This weekend, the Tigers (4-3) have a chance to make a statement of their own as a victory against Arkansas (3-5) will give MU a third straight win and a fifth in its last six games.
“We’ve got a little bit of momentum so I anticipate a great football game,” first year Missouri coach Eliah Drinkwitz, who coached Appalachian State to a 12-1 record a year ago, said.
Lost in the national frenzy created when Vanderbilt put female soccer goalie Sarah Fuller into the game to kick off in the second half, was a complete performance by MU in the 41-0 win at Faurot Field in Columbia.
Led by freshman quarterback Connor Bazelak and running back Larry Rountree III, Missouri piled up 380 yards passing and 223 yards rushing. The Tigers were penalized just once.
Drinkwitz called the Arkansas matchup “a litmus test” for his team and talked about the “need to put a great product on the field that our fans can be proud of” on Saturday.
The kind of product his team put up last week.
“They’re very big, very physical on the offensive line,” Razorbacks head coach Sam Pittman, in his first year with Arkansas, said. “They like to run the ball. Coach Drinkwitz does a great job of keeping you off balance. Bazalak is getting better each week. Rountree is a very, very solid, tough, physical runner.”
The zero in the points-against column and the total yardage allowed number of 185 speaks for itself even if it was against a winless Vandy team.
“Defensively they run to the football,” Pittman said.
Arkansas will arrive in Columbia a week after an oh-so-close loss to defending national champion LSU.
The Razorbacks outplayed the Tigers for most of the game and led late in the fourth quarter. But a 13-yard touchdown pass with 3:59 to play gave LSU a 27-24 lead. Arkansas had a shot to push the game into overtime but its field-goal attempt from 44 yards out was blocked with 1:30 remaining.
Senior quarterback Feleipe Franks posted his best numbers of the season — he went 17-of-26 for 339 yards, a touchdown and one interception.
“They’ve been in every single game,” Drinkwitz said of the Razorbacks. “Their grad-transfer quarterback, Feleipe Franks, is playing as well as any quarterback in the league, maybe except for the young man at Florida and the young man at Alabama.”
The game was originally scheduled to be played on Nov. 28 but was moved back because of COVID-19 problems at Arkansas. Both coaches are hoping to be near full-strength on Saturday, but pressed on that, Drinkwitz knocked on his wooden podium.
–Field Level Media